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  • Current Courses

    • Courses in the Department of Economics combine abstract theory with concrete statistical analysis for a more nuanced and accurate understanding of important issues. Our classes offer the study of different schools of economic thought, explored for both historical context and modern importance.

      Please consult the New School Course Catalog for a full course list. Spring 2022 courses include:

      • The Economics of Social Status, GECO 5015
        Till van Treeck, 2021-2022 Distinguished Heuss Professor and Professor of Social Economics at the University of Duisburg-Essen
        In this course, we discuss competing models of household behavior and their macroeconomic and ecological implications. In standard neoclassical models, individuals seek to intertemporally maximize utility in terms of consumption and leisure. In more sociologically oriented models (Veblen effects, Relative Income Hypothesis, post-Keynesian models of consumption), a distinction can be made between positional goods, such as various consumption goods, and non-positional goods, such as leisure. Relative income concerns may thus result in positional arms races implying excessive levels of work hours, private consumption, household debt, and greenhouse gas emissions. Positional arms races are likely to be exacerbated by a high degree of income inequality. We explore the different theoretical models as well as empirical applications using both micro-level household data and macro-level cross-country data. We also discuss the role of public goods (housing, social security, education) in alleviating the positional arms races and environmental degradation stemming from a high degree of income inequality in different national institutional settings (“varieties of capitalism”). Special attention is given to the cases of the United States and Germany.

      • Inequality and Varieties of Capitalism, GECO 5077
        David Howell, Professor of Economics and Urban Policy

        With the global ascendancy of neoliberalism, shared (or “equitable”) growth has been in decline, as vividly illustrated by the post-1980 American case: four decades of wage stagnation and rising wage inequality, high rates of job insecurity, and a growing crisis in the affordability of housing, education, and healthcare for working families. But outcomes such as these have been far from uniform across countries. In this course, we explore the access of working families in different countries and regions to decent jobs and welfare state benefits, framed by some key questions: Can changes in decent-paying jobs, pay inequality, and job security be explained (as in the mainstream economics account) by market forces that raise the demand for cognitive skills, driven by the computerization and globalization of production? If this is the story, why haven’t markets (and public policies) adjusted to eliminate this skill mismatch, and why do national outcomes differ so much? Or is the problem instead mainly a reflection of shifts in relative worker bargaining power that differ substantially by nation or region, driven by political choices designed to reduce the size of the welfare state (austerity economics) and promote wage suppression? If this is the story, and the inclusivity, complementarity, and coherence of institutional regimes are critical to earnings, employment performance, and the overall well-being of working families (as in the comparative political economy account), which institutions matter the most, in what combination, and for which workers? And further, if some capitalisms offer more protection (bargaining power) to workers, do we see a tradeoff with employment performance (e.g., the rate of unemployment), or can more egalitarian varieties of capitalism alsocomplement full employment?
      • Historical Foundations of Political Economy II, GECO 5105
        Clara Mattei, Assistant Professor of Economics

        The class explores, from a historical and comparative perspective, the connection between leading trends of economic theory in the 20th century and applied policy making. We begin with a study of the concept of economic technocracy, delving into the examination of six noteworthy case studies in the history of political economy. The first is the connection between institutionalism and Progressive Era labor reforms in the United States. Second is the relationship between marginalism and post-World War I policies, focusing on the British and Italian cases. In spite of the radically different political regimes in Italy and England, the 1920s were characterized by austerity measures and the 1930s by interventionist policies. The role of J. M. Keynes' theories in this shift will be examined. We next focus on Latin America, exploring the importance of structuralism and dependency theory, stemming from the working of economists at the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA) for post-World War II industrial economic policies. We then consider the Cold War period, studying the role of rational choice theory in the Johnson administration (1963-1969) and the Chicago economists under the Reagan administration (1981-1989). The impact of the Chicago economists' ideas and monetarism on Pinochet's dictatorship in Chile (1973-1990) and on Argentina's new democracy (1983-1989) is discussed. We conclude with an examination of the influence of neo-institutionalism on the World Bank, particularly in its shift from the idea of structural adjustment to comprehensive development. Through this course students acquire an in-depth understanding of the main schools in the 20th-century history of political economy. Chiefly, students develop critical tools with which to appreciate the importance of economic rationales and academic enterprises in the making of the world we inhabit.

      • Political Economy/Money and Finance, GECO 5241
        Faculty TBA

        The aim of this course is to provide students with a solid understanding of the relationship between money, finance, and capitalist development while also teaching elements of the pure theory of money and finance. This includes considering key thematic areas of classical political economy through a comparative discussion of some of the leading authors. Specifically, the course objectives are 1) to introduce students to the place and role of money and finance in General Equilibrium Theory; 2) to discuss the Marxist theory of money in broad disciplinary and historical context; 3) to critically examine mainstream (information-theoretic) microeconomics of banking and finance. 4) to discuss the treatment of credit and finance from the perspective of Marxist political economy; 5) to examine mainstream theories of financial asset prices, including risk-return analysis and stock and derivatives pricing (attention will also be paid to corporate finance); 6) to discuss Marxist theory of banking capital, formation of financial profits, and relationship to the average rate of profit; and 7) to consider issues of monetary policy in developed and developing countries, including the role of central banks. The lectures will be highly interactive, involving open discussion of selected topics. Students will also be asked to make short presentations, followed by discussion.

      • Advanced Math Methods and Modeling, GECO 6110
        Duncan Foley, Leo Model Professor of Economics and Director of Graduate Studies, and Andreas Lichtenberger, TA and PhD Economics Candidate

        This course is a survey of mathematical and statistical modeling methods widely used in economic research, organized around the “info-metric” meta-theory developed by Amos Golan and his associates, based on the principle of constrained entropy maximization. The topics covered include a review of conventional econometric data-modeling techniques, such as linear regression; Bayesian inference based on the principle of inverse probability; constrained maximization in convex and non-convex problems; information theory; entropy and constrained entropy maximization in underdetermined systems; data compression through modeling; linear dynamic models; non-linear dynamic models; Markov models, including agent-based models; equilibrium concepts from general equilibrium theory and game theory; Bowles’ program of explanation in social science; and maximum entropy statistical equilibrium models. In each case, the relevant mathematical and statistical formalisms will be explained and illustrated by examples from current political economy, together with a critical review of recent published and working paper research.

      • Graduate Econometrics, GECO 6181
        Jamee Moudud, Part-Time Assistant Professor, and Tato Khundadze, TA and PhD Economics Student 

        This course involves a detailed exploration of the mechanics, advantages, and limits and limitations of the “classical” linear regression model. Where relevant, questions of methodology will be discussed. The first part of the course covers the theoretical and applied statistical principles that underlie Ordinary Lest Squares (OLS) regression techniques. It covers the assumptions needed to obtain the Best Linear Unbiased Estimates of a regression equation — also known as the BLUE conditions. Particular emphasis is placed on the assumptions underlying the distribution of a model’s error term and other BLUE conditions. We also cover hypothesis testing, sample selection, and the critical role of the t- and F-statistics in determining the statistical significance of an econometric model and its associated slope or “b” parameters. The second part of the course addresses the three main problems associated with the violation of a particular BLUE assumption: multicollinearity, autocorrelation, and heteroscedasticity. Students learn how to identify, address, and (hopefully) remedy each of these problems. We take a similar approach to understanding and correcting model specification errors. The third part of the course focuses on the econometrics of time-series models, including Granger causality, error-correction models, and co-integration.

      • Graduate Microeconomics, GECO 6190
        Ying Chen, Assistant Professor of Economics, and Yuki Tada, TA and PhD Economics Candidate

        The field of microeconomics has been dominated by the neoclassical approach. This course offers an alternative perspective from which to study the behaviors of individuals and firms. Instead of employing methodological individualism, we focus more on coordinations between individuals and firms to understand why coordination sometimes fails and what institutions can be designed to assist coordination success. All the mathematics required for the course will be covered in the assignments, readings, and discussion sessions.

      • Advanced Microeconomics I, GECO 6200
        Ali Khan, Part-Time Faculty, and Marjan Fadavi Ardekani, TA and PhD Economics Candidate 

        This course surveys modern economic theory as it pertains to the allocation of resources over time in multi-agent societies. Particular attention is paid to the formal mathematical expression of economic ideas such as the market, competition, interaction, technological efficiency, good allocations, and distortions — in short, the ability to give a loose economic intuition a coherent logical meaning. The course develops modern microeconomic theory by presenting topics in the following order: the theory of the individual producer; the theory of the individual consumer; Kuhn-Tucker theory, including basic results in the theory of linear programming; the two-sector model of general equilibrium; existence of competitive equilibria Pareto optimal allocations; intertemporal allocation; externalities and public goods; and core allocations and Nash equilibria of games in normal form. The course is self-contained from a mathematical point of view and will require only an elementary knowledge of calculus and linear algebra. However, it does presuppose a desire and ability for abstract reasoning.

      • Advanced Macroeconomics II, GECO 6203
        Willi Semmler, Arnhold Professor of International Cooperation and Development, and Amit Roy, PhD Economics Student 

        We cover topics such as 1) long swings in economic growth, business cycles, and financial cycles; 2) non-renewable resources and resource boom-bust cycles; 3) macroeconomics of climate change, climate disasters, and climate policies; 4) wage, income, and wealth inequalities: theory and empirical evidence; 5) globalization, the labor market, and the Phillips curve: recent work; 6) the financial market, financial intermediaries, and financial instability: recent work; 7) conventional and unconventional monetary policies: recent work; 8) fiscal policy, the multiplier, and evolution of sovereign debt: recent work; 8) the labor market, new technology, and employment and wage disparities; and 9) the pandemic-driven global meltdown and policies. This course is accepted as a three-credit course relevant for MA, MS, and PhD students (for PhD students, as preparation for the QE in macroeconomics). For MA students, some knowledge of macroeconomics, such as Graduate Macroeconomics, is needed. More advanced students will also be introduced to Keynesian macroeconomic dynamics, regime switching modeling, and some multi-regime econometrics. Students are also welcome to register to audit the course. If you are interested in such a course and if you would like to have other topics covered, please write us a note. There will also be lab sessions accompanying the course. Only a research paper is required for the course.

      • Post-Keynesian Economics, GECO 6206
        Mark Setterfield, Professor and Chair of Economics

        This course presents an overview of post-Keynesian economics. It begins by distinguishing post-Keynesian economics from other varieties of Keynesianism and identifying the major methodological concerns of post-Keynesian economics. Thereafter, the course explores various topics in post-Keynesian economic theory. These include the principle of effective demand, cost-plus pricing theory, the conflicting-claims theory of inflation, theories of endogenous money and finance, and demand-led growth theory.

      • Financialized Capitalism: Production, Finance, and the State, GECO 6241
        Faculty TBA

        The aim of this course is to develop students’ understanding of the evolution of contemporary capitalism during the last four decades, paying particular attention to the relationship between the financial sector and the "real economy" in both developed and developing countries. Students acquire the analytical tools necessary for participation in academic and policy debates on domestic and international finance. Throughout the course, emphasis is placed on the understanding of theories and models as well as testing and evaluating theoretical propositions in the light of empirical evidence and real-world conditions. A special feature of the course is providing students with an understanding of financialization, financial globalization, and subordinate financialization, including their policy consequences. The course objectives are 1) to examine the political economy of the relationship between the domestic financial system and the "real economy," focusing on the analytical and historical links between the main layers of the financial system, as well as the system’s evolution in the course of economic development, and paying attention to the two-way relationship between the domestic financial system and the productive sector; 2) to provide a theoretical overview of financial globalization and financialization in theory and practice since the 1970s, with an analytical focus on policy debates; 3) to briefly consider the evolution of the international financial system through historical analysis of the main periods of international financial flows; 4) to consider the formation of exchange rates, focusing on international capital flows; 6) to develop students’ understanding of financial reform, distress, and the role of international institutions, especially the IMF and the World Bank; and 7) to discuss crises, in particular the great crisis of 2007-2009 and the pandemic crisis of 2020-2021. The lectures will be highly interactive, involving open discussion of selected topics. Students will also be asked to make short presentations, followed by discussion.

      • International Finance, GECO 6253
        Willi Semmler, Arnhold Professor of International Cooperation and Development, and Faculty TBA

        This course is devoted to the study of international monetary economics and finance historically, empirically, and theoretically. We begin with a historical overview of the monetary and currency systems such as the gold standard, the Bretton Woods system, the Euro system, and other systems. We then examine fixed and flexible exchange rate systems, the role of the balance of trade, balance of payment, capital flows, and foreign reserves for their potentials to generate international financial crises. We also study the important role of central banks and multilateral institutions such as the IMF in stabilizing growth, employment, and inflation rates. Special emphasis is given to topics such as the impact of globalization, financial instability and monetary and fiscal policies, exchange-rate volatility and its impact on the real and financial sectors, foreign debt, capital flows, currency runs, and international portfolio decisions. Important recent historical crisis episodes such as the Latin American debt crisis, the Asian currency crisis, the U.S. financial market meltdown, and the EU sovereign debt crisis are studied. We also explore World Bank and IMF policies and issues concerning financial market liberalization, international financial regulations, and international financial architecture.

      • Advanced Econometrics II, GECO 6282
        Feridoon Koohi-Kamali, Associate Professor of Applied Political Economy

        This course builds on Advanced Econometrics I and is designed to familiarize students with a set of Bayesian methods recently developed for estimating and evaluating linear and non-linear macroeconomic models. In particular, the course focuses on Bayesian filtering methods such as Kalman filtering, unscented Kalman filtering, and particle filtering, which allow us to estimate non-linear models with unobserved variables and time-varying parameters. These methods are applied to post-Keynesian Stock-Flow Consistent models, Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium models, and Dynamic Stochastic Disequilibrium models. Each topic is covered in both theory sessions and application sessions. The course is held seminar style. Active student participation is encouraged through assignments on the required readings. Students are expected to apply the methods discussed in small-scale projects and to finish a research paper by the end of the term, which they are encouraged to use for their dissertation.

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